A Little Faith

It has occurred to me.
If I am afraid to try.
If I am afraid of life.
Why am I still here?
Why am I slowly reaching for
New things?
Why am I slowly bringing
Dreams to life?

I’ve got a job.
Had it for a year now.
I know
It’s not the best job.
But it’s a good first step
Into a life
I never had.
A life
I denied myself.

A lot of people act
As if the job I have
Is all wrong for me.
That I should have a job
Like the one
I used to have.
Before all this started.
Two years ago.

They don’t know.
They don’t understand.
They see the world
Differently from me.

I didn’t get this job
By sheer dumb luck.
I picked it.
I waited.
And when it was time.
I applied for it.
I chose it.

Because it gives me
What I need
In my life right now.

Time.
Time to heal the wounds
In my heart and soul.
Time to change my course
Through life.
Time to write.
Time to dream.
Time to learn new things.

There’s nothing wrong at all
With the job I have right now.
Nothing at all.

I want to write, you know.
I always have.
It’s always been a dream
Of mine.
One that I gave up,
‘Cause everybody knows,
You can’t make a living
Writing stories.

I had to grow up.
Get a real job.
Be an adult.
Not a dreamer.

So here I am.
With the job I know
Most people don’t approve of.
I can almost hear them say,
“It’s sad.
So sad.
What happened to him.
The fall he’s made.
The broken person
He’s become.
He’ll never be the same.”

Just another victim
Of the ways of life.
We’ll leave him behind.
He fell by the wayside.
But the rest of us
Are OK.

Yeah.
I hear those voices.
Hear those thoughts.
And I know them
To be false.

For the truth is something more.
I changed.

I’m not the person
I once was.
I’m me.
The way I’m meant to be.

And with time.
And patience,
I’ll learn
The things I need to learn.
To breathe life
Into the dreams I have.

Step by step.
Day by day.
I’ll find a way
To use the skills I have
To help those around me.

And one day at a time,
I’ll find a way
To write.

I can’t help but feel
I’m on my way.

I just need
To have a little faith
In me.

Believe What You Want To

It’s Tuesday. I’m sitting in a chair in the “Breast Care Center” at Norfolk General Hospital. Pat’s here, being prepared for her outpatient surgery today. I’m here to support her, and make sure she knows that I will take care of her today. Make sure she knows how much she means to me.

I’m not in crisis. Despite what people think. I’ve elected to depart the church that I went to for half of the past year. I elected to do that. I wasn’t pushed. I was welcome there. But the problem I had there was the same problem I’ve had at so many other places. I could not be me. I could not behave naturally. I had to behave in a way that the people there could accept. I had to follow a script. I had to build a character. A facade. So that I appeared to be like them. So that I appeared to have the same values. The same behavior patterns. So that they could feel comfortable around me, and I would not disturb them.

I know this to be the case. For it’s something that was being told to me. More and more frequently. By more and more of them. There are times I wonder about people, and why they do what they do. To me, it’s like the people of the church have concluded that science is a sin. And that science is a lie. And that the information science provides about life, the universe, physics, medicine, and all the rest, are a creation of man that drives a wedge between us and God. That science, and thus knowledge itself, cause us to question God.

I’ve found the opposite, myself. For I cannot help but feel that only God could have created something a mind numbingly, unimaginably huge as the universe that we live in. Think about it. We live in a galaxy of nearly 200,000,000,000 stars. That’s 200 Billion. With a B. And think about it further. Science is piecing together evidence that there are hundreds of billions of Earth like planets out there in just this one galaxy. And there are hundreds of billions of galaxies.

Perhaps this is another instance where people fear what they can’t understand. Or what makes them uncomfortable. And they fear the knowledge that our Earth is tiny beyond imagining within the context of the universe. And they fear the knowledge that perhaps God has made other life forms in his image on other worlds, in other galaxies. And that we are isolated on our little island in the universe because of the sheer size of the universe, and the incredible distances between the stars. Distances where are pathetically small when you look at the distances between the galaxies.

Shine a beam of light at Proxima Centauri. It’ll take about 4 years to get there. Shine that same beam of light at the Andromeda galaxy. It’ll take better than 22,000,000 years to get there. That’s how far apart the galaxies are. What if God has put a different life form in each of the 200 billion galaxies, and those life forms can never interact because of how far apart the galaxies are?

The more I learn of science, the more I can’t help but believe that God exists. And yet, to so many people, science violates the “truth” contained in the Bible. I just don’t understand.

It’s like the topic of “evolution”. Evolution is a theory. But, all the physical evidence we have supports it. Yet, people hold to the absurd notion that, Bang!, 6000 years ago, the universe appeared out of nothing, in the exact form it’s in today. And that humans appeared out of nothing at the same time. And that God went to all the trouble of putting an archaeological  history in place to weed the people of faith from the people of no faith. How else can you explain the dinosaurs? How else can you explain the ice records in Antarctica, and Greenland that go back more than 10,000 years? How else can you explain the Neanderthals, and the modern humans existing at the same time, and competing with each other, 50,000 years ago?

God sure went to a lot of trouble to set up a fake history just to weed out people that don’t believe, didn’t he? Geeze.

And then there’s bacteria. Try and explain that one. Evolution says that bacteria will develop immunity to drugs if you expose them to those drugs for a long enough period of time. That the immunity is a naturally occurring event caused by genetic mutation. Genetic accidents. Something goes wrong in cloning the genetic structure of the parent bacteria when it splits, and makes a copy of itself. And the copy has an immunity to the drug. And the copy becomes successful in life.

Evolution. By definition. It’s a near perfect example of the theory. And that life, engineered by God, has the ability to adapt to its environment in such a way is an amazing thing. God sure knew what the heck he was doing when he created life and granted it that ability. Wow! How can you not believe in God when you see how masterful a creation evolution is?

And yet, there are people that declare that evolution does not exist. I fail to understand that at all.

It is reasons such as this that have caused me to leave the church. Again. It is reasons such as this that make it very unlikely that I’ll ever return to the church. For I find the people of the church deliberately blinding themselves to the wonders of the universe that God has created. And doing so in the belief that it’s all a test of faith that God designed for us.

I can’t agree with that. I can’t live that way. I can’t accept such things. And I can’t lie, and pretend that I do just to make the people around me feel comfortable, and safe.

There is a story. As set of stories, actually. Locked away in my head. About the birth of nano-technology. About how mortal men learn to manipulate matter at the sub-atomic level. And become able to control their own genetic structure. And about how they create machines that follow rule sets that manage the genetic structure of men. And how that leads to the breeding of human sub-species as required for governments, and corporations. To support the increased productivity of the corporations, and the increased profitability of the corporations. How we come to breed “perfect” humans. Perfect sports athletes. Perfect warriors for the military. Perfect minds. Perfect corporate human resources. In effect, perfect slaves.

It’s a nightmare world. And by closing our eyes, and our minds, we leave the door open for it to happen. After all, isn’t it true that Satan spreads lies. And that Satan spreads fear. And if we are afraid of the universe that God has made and given us, where will that lead?

I’ve rambled enough for one day.

Ignore the truth of the universe if you so choose. I can’t. I won’t. It’s a marvelous creation that God has given us. Pretend it’s a test of your faith in God if you wish. Pretend that it’s only 6000 years old. And that God went to all the trouble of creating dinosaurs, giant crocodiles, strange insects, and all the rest, to make it look like there has been life on Earth for the past 500 million years or more, just so he could test our faith, and weed out those of us that doubt the words of the Bible from those of us that don’t.

Believe what you want to. That’s what we all do anyway, isn’t it?

Mark.

Fairies : Have Faith In Yourself

It was 3 o’clock in the morning
When he woke up.
Only Oceana was awake.
She quickly woke up Mystica.
And the two of them
Woke up everyone.

Miss Hooters looked desperate.
She set out to follow him.
As he walked the short distance
To the park latrine.

From there, he walked out
Onto the sand.
Down by the water’s edge.
Miss Hooters staying hidden
Where he could not see her.

The fairies
As a group,
Followed him.
People seem to think
That fairies glow in the dark
When they fly.
And leave these trails of light
Up in the sky.

They don’t.
Not unless they want to.
So the fairies Flew
About 100 feet above the ground.
Where he would not see them.
And they watched him
As he walked along.
Stopping ever now and then
To watch the ocean.

Under the light
Of the full moon,
The ocean looked
Deep velvet black.
With little ripples
Of pure silver
Shining on it’s waves
Every now and then.

The sky above the ocean
Was a dark grey.
That seemed to reach forever.
And the stars up in the sky
Were scattered through it.
Stars of different brightness,
Different colors,
Different strengths.

The stars up in the sky
Twinkled
As if they were little diamonds,
Reflecting the moonlight.

The whole thing looked
Like something from a painting.
It was an absolutely beautiful
Sight.

If you watched the waves
Upon the ocean
In the dark that night,
You could see brilliant white
When the waves would break.
As they came into the shore.

Miss Hooters watched him
From the dune line.
She wished so very much
That she could fly right up
To him.
Land on his big shoulders.
And then sit down.
And whisper in his ear.
And tell him how very much
She cared for him.
And was so afraid for him
When he left his home
In the middle of the night.
Hours before the dawn.

But she did not.
Instead, she stayed
Out of his sight.
Watching him
From the grasses,
And the weeds
That were on top
Of the dune line.

Oceana said to Mystica,
“There’s something I can do.
A gift
That I can give to him.”
Then away she flew.
Out over the ocean,
Which was her realm.

When she had flow
Far enough.
She flew down to the water,
And then under the waves.
Where she found
Schools of fish.
And she spoke with them.
And asked them please
To do something for her.

And the fish
All agreed.

It wasn’t very long at all
Before he stopped walking
Along the sand,
Down by the water’s edge.
And looked out at the waves.
For he’d seen something
That caught his eye.
And when he stopped,
He couldn’t help but stare.

There,
On the black velvet water
Of the ocean,
Before his very eyes,
He could see the fish.
Playing among the waves.

He could see them leaping
Out of the tops of waves.
Landing in the trenches
That looked like tiny valleys
Between little mountain ranges.

He could see the flashes
Of silver of the fish.
As they leapt into the air.
And the flashes
Of pure white
Painted on the ocean
By each fish
As it returned home
To the sea.

And he couldn’t help but stand there
In the hours before the dawn.
And watch in pure wonder.
At the thing he saw.
Knowing that the images
He saw upon that night
Would live within his memories
Forever.

Miss Hooters watched,
From the dune line.
And said a silent thank you
To Oceana.
For she knew
The fish upon the ocean
Were a gift from her
To him.

Mystica and all her friends
Hanging in the air,
Looking down on him,
Were filled with hope
That he would be OK.

It was Rose who spoke.
It was Rose who first noticed
The tears he cried.
As he stood there
On the sand that night.

“He won’t ever give up trying.
I know he won’t.
He won’t give up on life.
Because of moments
Just like this.”

Dream picked up
Where Rose left off.
“He knows beauty
When he sees it.
He knows that what he sees tonight
Is very special.”

And at that point,
The fairies all just stopped.
Because they saw him
Standing on the sand,
As he closed his eyes
And looked straight up
To the sky.
And then he spoke.

“Thank you life,
For giving me
Such a precious,
Priceless gift
As you have given me this night.”

And then he smiled.

“Sometimes it’s hard
For me to keep going,
When I don’t know
What will happen
Tomorrow.
Sometimes it’s hard
For me to believe
That with a little time
I’ll make it through
This transition
That’s happening in my life.”

He sighed.
And Miss Hooters cried,
Tears falling from her eyes,
As he continued on.
“I don’t know
What I’ll be doing
A year from now.
I don’t know
If the friends I have
Will still be friends with me.
Or of they will be gone.”

“I know that’s how life
Is supposed to be.
That I can’t know
What will happen next.
And that part of life
Is letting go
Of the fear I have
Of the unknown.
And just live
As best I can.
Feeling every moment
Of this life
I’ve been blessed with.”

Rose whispered,
As she floated there
Up in the sky that night.
“Have faith,
Dear friend.
Have faith in yourself.
And listen to your heart.
It knows
What you should do.”

And then the fairies watched
As he sat down on the sand.
And watched the ocean,
And the stars
Up in the sky.
And waited.
For the coming of the dawn.

An Old Zen Saying

There is an old Zen saying,
“Leap and the net will appear,”
That I find defines
Both faith,
And fear.

For to me the saying says
If I have the faith
In myself.
In who I am.
And what I believe.

Then I will do the things
I know to do,
And need to do,
In the life
That’s been granted me.

But if my faith is weak,
If I do not believe
In who I am,
And the things
That I believe.

Then I will be paralyzed
By fear.
Stuck in place.
And stuck in time.
No longer growing.
No longer changing.

And when a life stops
Growing,
Changing,
And remains the same
Day after day.
Then that life
Is all but over
Isn’t it?

This Zen saying
Also says to me
That it’s OK to be afraid.
That fear is a normal thing.

It’s like a zip line tour.
When you can’t see
Where the line ends.
It just passes
Through the trees.
And ends somewhere.
When you look down
From the platform
You are standing on.
Way up in the air.
Looking at the ground
Way the heck down there.

You know
That the zip line
Just won’t break.
That it’s rated to carry
20 times your weight.

You know
That the gear you’re wearing
Won’t break either.
That it will keep you attached
To the zip line.
That the gear,
Just like the line,
Can carry someone
20 times your weight.

But still,
You stand there.
On that platform
In the air.
Not knowing where the line
Will take you.
Afraid of having your feet
Hanging in space
100 feet or more
Above the ground.

You know
That if you were to fall.
It would just be the end
Of you.

That’s how fear works.
And it’s certainly OK
To be afraid
Of hanging from
A heavy gage steel cable
100 feet or more
Above the ground.
Especially
When you have no idea
Where that cable
Will take you.

You have a choice
As you stand there
On that platform
In the air.
You can pick up your feet,
And ride that zip line
To its end.
Or you can listen
To the fears you have.
And climb down to the ground.
And just go home.

Even though you know
That all you have to do
Standing there on that platform,
Is trust in what you know.
Instead of what you feel.

For like that old Zen saying says,
“Leap and the net will appear”

As I sit here on my sofa,
Writing down these words.
I can’t help but think
That I’m at such a place
In the life
That’s been given me.

A place where I simply have to take
That leap of faith.
And that everything will be OK
If I just don’t let
The fears I have
Tell me what to do.